Dark Deity (PC) Review

By Eric Ace 20.08.2021

Review for Dark Deity on PC

Grid-based strategy games may not have started with Fire Emblem exclusively, but that series sure helped define the genre. In a way, the strange interplay of an obscure Japan series, and Super Smash Bros Melee (because it featured Marth and Roy, which thereby generated huge interest in the series), launched what became a cornerstone of Nintendo's offerings. Dark Deity is an unabashed clone from a small indie studio named Sword & Axe LLC, where players must guide a small group of military students against an ancient evil - with swords, mages, class changes, and all.

Dark Deity is a capable Fire Emblem clone that does not stray too far from the formula in many ways, but the few it does is to its determent. Taking a small, but ever-growing group of soldiers as they fight their way through the kingdom, eventually forces of darkness become revealed that of course have to be killed off by your team to save the world. The plot isn't going to win any awards, but for a good copy of a Fire Emblem experience, this will get the job done. Though there are times that better writing threatens to shine through, it never makes it to the forefront.

First things first, the sprite art style definitely deserves accolades. While the actual battle scene graphics look a little stiff, the overall appearance along with that each unit looks different in each of their classes really gave a bit of that cool nostalgia feeling to the experience. The different classes largely look very good, from the cool robes of the mages, to some of the knights or spear user classes, one of the game's highlights is seeing how they will look when one of your units can be class-changed.

Screenshot for Dark Deity on PC

This plays pretty much like any other in the genre. On the player's turn, you will move your units around one at a time, attacking the enemy, with the general goal of a "kill 'em all" kind of battle plan. Melee attack at a range of one grid point, archers and mages attack at two points, people on horses can move further, and so on - nothing new under the sun here. One thing developer has done, was to add a very weird weapon system and triangle to the whole thing.

There are four different armour types, of which the player cannot change (its locked to class), and these give varied buffs or de-buffs to whatever attack. This might be something like leather armour getting a -20% to certain attacks, for instance. Further, each character has four types of weapons permanently equipped; loosely they are a 'power,' 'accuracy,' 'critical,' and 'balanced' weapon, so going into an attack, the player scrolls through the four weapons, decides what to do, and goes from there. This system, however, kind of takes away from the feeling of ownership in the team.

Screenshot for Dark Deity on PC

It can perhaps be seen what the creators were trying to go for, but honestly the stuff is too confusing and has too little purpose to pay much attention to. Simply find the best damage that will hit and go from there. Furthermore, the weapon system just feels wrong. While the weapons can in fact be upgraded, there is something missing in the experience about finding and equipping that new legendary blade, or pulling out that sword from the storage.

Story-wise, the writing is kind of all over. Overall, the story and characters are a bit dry and predictable. A fair amount of the time, the story was hardly engaging, and it droned on not going anywhere. The sad thing is, there are some actually pretty engaging elements hidden in the story and some of the characters. For example, one character points out to their naïve comrade about how their king doesn't care at all about their lives and being a soldier is just a waste of their life. It is a pretty engaging concept for a conversation, but it does not go anywhere unfortunately.

Screenshot for Dark Deity on PC

At this stage, the game feels a little like a late beta version. There are still a lot of glitches and errors, and just outright imbalances that do not feel production ready. One example is how the 'battle save' system has gone from wonky in one update, to broken in the next. Class changes are woefully imbalanced, with the very odd effect for some that your character's stats actually go down for a majority of the promotions.

Dark Deity is fun when it is hitting its stride of the team tearing down the hall, blowing away the resistance. However, there are sometimes frequent AI grievances, such as inconsistency with luring or mobbing on you, with the all-too-frequent 'suicide into the character until they die' strategy which is never fun to receive. Many, many times, enemies will hang back only to charge with multiple mages into a single guy and almost always kill them.

As it is right now, the game is 'good enough,' which hopefully isn't the top of the praise the game creators are looking for, as this really is calling out for some minor changes that will really bring it to the next level, and possibly rival its inspiration material.

Screenshot for Dark Deity on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Dark Deity is rough around the edges, but has a great structure to its core experience. The sprites look pretty good, and the class changes are one of the highlights to the experience. A weird weapon system, random little problems/glitches and stunted character interaction, all detract from what is fairly solid otherwise. This is the type of strategy game that with a few core patches and overhauls could really become something to look out for.

Developer

Sword & Axe LLC

Publisher

Freedom Games

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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